Kenya Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources and energy

Kenya has quite a few deposits of minerals. After many years of searching for oil and natural gas, however, oil deposits were found in 2012 and hopes are there of getting a profitable export started. The country’s most important asset is fertile agricultural land as well as nature and the rich wildlife that attracts tourists.

Lake Magadi in the Rift Valley, near the border with Tanzania, has high levels of sodium carbonate. Here is Africa’s largest producer of crystal soda, which is the most important export mineral. Flux spat is also extracted, as is iron ore, salt, limestone, vermiculite, gold and precious stones, mainly rubies and sapphires. In the late 1990s, a large deposit of titanium and zircon was discovered south of Mombasa. However, plans for exploitation were put on ice following protests from environmental organizations.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Kenya with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

The London-based oil company Tullow Oil found oil in the Turkana region in northwest 2012 and has since made several discoveries. Up to a billion barrels are estimated to exist. Plans exist for extraction and export, although falling world market prices from 2014 make plans uncertain. In 2015, Kenya and Uganda agreed to jointly build a 150-km oil pipeline to Lamu on the coast. It will be the world’s longest heated pipe, due to high wax content in the oil.

Household energy needs are largely covered by firewood. Domestic electricity comes mainly from hydropower. There are several power plants in the Tana River and one in the Turkwelf River. Oil power plants, geothermal heat and electricity imports from Uganda account for the rest. Electricity shortages are a major problem and power outages are common. Companies and private individuals who can afford often rely on gasoline-powered generators to secure access to electricity.

Rapid logging is one of Kenya’s most serious environmental problems. The forest area was halved by 30 years and was down a couple of percent of the country’s area in the early 2000s, although the trend has now reversed thanks to reforestation efforts. Forest harvesting and increased agriculture contribute to soil erosion. Extensive flower growing around Lake Naivasha threatens the water supply in the lake, which is the second largest in Kenya.

  • Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, KE stands for Kenya. Visit itypeusa for more information about Kenya.


Energy use per person

527 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)

Electricity consumption per person

171 kWh, kWh (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions in total

14 287 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

0.3 ton (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

72.7 percent (2015)



ODM wants to change the BBI report

December 12

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his former rival Raila Odinga announce that their major joint project, Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) (see November 27, 2019), will again be discussed abroad in the country via the so-called BBI Commission, which raises some surprise. The proposals in BBI have been drawn up in a process that included the views of meetings in 47 counties and 7,000 interviews. Later, in front of Odinga’s party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) that it wants to make some changes to the BBI report, including that a new prime minister should be given greater powers than previously proposed.

Ten dead in attacks in northern Kenya

December 7

Ten people, including seven police officers, were killed in an attack in northern Kenya when traveling between the cities of Wajir and Mandera. The militant Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab takes on the deed.

Nairobi’s governor arrested, accused of corruption

December 5

The Kenyan Chief Prosecutor orders Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and several other people to be arrested on suspicion of being guilty of financial crime, including for allegedly stealing public property and money laundering . Sonko was a controversial person already when the ruling party appointed him his candidate in the governor election in 2017, when he served prison terms and was subsequently accused of drug trafficking. However, he is popular with many poor Kenyans, not least because he has his own fire trucks and ambulances that are used to assist people living in slums. Sonko is later released against the bail.


New reform proposal meets criticism

November 27th

A new post as prime minister is to be created. It shall be taken from the party which has a majority in Parliament (the National Assembly), be elected by Parliament and be approved by the President. More money will go to regional governments that are responsible for basic schooling and care. Anyone who comes second in a presidential election must be appointed leader of the opposition in parliament. It also promises to take action against corruption and create new jobs for young unemployed people. These are some of the most important points of the reform proposal presented by the government with the aim of trying to end the violence that often erupts in the context of political elections.March 2018). However, the new reform proposal has already met with harsh criticism for being a superficial way to shed light on the great contradictions that exist, where more people can find ways to sneak in at the expense of ordinary Kenyans, when there is a need to take action against the widespread corruption that makes that there is less money for things like care and education. Some analysts also warn that the proposal may help to lessen ethnic tensions rather than counteract them.

Former ICC prosecutors are criticized for dealing with Kenyan cases

November 27th

In an internal report, harsh criticism is directed at the ICCFormer Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo for handling the charges against several high-ranking Kenyans, including current President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Vice President William Ruto, who were suspected of involvement in the extensive violence that erupted after the 2007 election. a large part of the responsibility for the legal processes could not be carried out on internal problems in the prosecutor’s office, which was largely due to leadership problems. Moreno-Ocampo must have pushed for the prosecution to be brought despite deficiencies in evidence and he should not have accepted that anyone opposed it, He himself says that the biggest problems were caused by the defendants having such high positions.

At least 56 dead after severe rains

November 26th

Severe torrents trigger landslides that require at least 56 lives in the West Pokot region of Kenya’s western parts. At least 30 people are still missing and hundreds have lost their homes.

Somalia and Kenya agree to normalize relations

November 15

Kenya and Somalia have agreed to normalize contacts after a lengthy dispute over sea rights in an area believed to be rich in oil and gas. At the beginning of the year, the conflict led Kenya to call its ambassador for consultations and invited Somalia’s embassy to leave Kenya (see February 2019). After Ethiopian mediation, diplomatic relations were resumed in March, but only now is it possible again to obtain a travel visa to the neighboring country directly at the border. The country’s presidents, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Uhuru Kenyatta, promise at a meeting to try to find ways to strengthen diplomatic and bilateral relations. The dispute over sea rights is already handled by the International Court of Justice (ICJ)) in The Hague. In October, following a request from Kenya, CJ agreed to postpone the process for one year.

Kenya’s population has grown by nine million in ten years

November 4th

The census conducted in August shows that Kenya’s population has grown to almost. 47.6 million. This means that the Kenyans have become nine million more since the last census in 2009. About 23.6 million of the inhabitants are men and 24 million are women. For the first time, intersexuals (people who do not see themselves as men or women) are also registered, amounting to 1,500 people. According to the census, the capital Nairobi has 4.4 million inhabitants.


Kenya made on Fridays

October 23

Kenyan public servants are ordered to wear Kenyan-made clothing at work on Fridays. The measure is designed to strengthen the domestic tech industry. It is part of the program called the Big 4 Agenda, which aims to boost the domestic manufacturing industry.


Exchange of banknotes should fight corruption

September 29th

Kenya received new banknotes in June and all old banknotes must have been replaced at the coming month, as they can no longer be paid for. The country has also urged neighboring countries not to receive any old 1000 shillings (1000 shillings is almost US $ 10). The banknote change is, among other things, a way to reach those who have accumulated large sums illegally, through money laundering and corruption, and those who have hidden their assets in order to avoid paying taxes. According to official data, only 24 individuals have exchanged banknotes worth more than two million shillings. At the same time, reports that many large purchases have been made in recent days and that many have paid in cash.

Controversial dam construction is stopped

September 19

President Uhuru Kenyatta cancels the construction of the Kimwar Dam in western Kenya. This is done with reference to an investigation which shows that it is not sustainable, neither technically nor financially (the construction would have cost $ 214 million). According to the report, no plans have been made for how the landowners in the area should be compensated and that the design had technical deficiencies. The dam construction has been particularly controversial as large sums that would have gone to the construction have disappeared into corruption, which, among other things, led to Kenya’s Finance Minister Henry Rotich being arrested in August suspected of interference (see August 2019). At the same time, President Kenyatta gives the clear sign for the construction of the Arrord dam in the same area. Since Rotich was dismissed, Ukur Yatani has been appointed acting finance minister.

Pilot project against malaria begins

September 13

Kenya becomes the third African country to start vaccinating children against malaria. The work will start in western Kenya, in the area closest to Lake Victoria. In the first stage, 120,000 children will be vaccinated. According to Kenyan health authorities, more than one in four children are infected with the disease over five years. Previously, similar pilot projects have been initiated in Malawi and Ghana.


The finance minister is arrested in corruption

22 August

Kenya’s Finance Minister Henry Rotich and 27 others are being arrested for, among other things, fraud and abuse of power in connection with major dam construction in western Kenya. The contract to build the two ponds had been awarded to an Italian company, CMC Di Ravenna, who had previously failed to complete similar projects. The entire building would cost the equivalent of $ 450 million, but that amount has gradually been raised to over $ 600 million. According to the AFP news agency, about $ 180 million has already been paid out without much building. Rotich has a close relationship with Vice President William Ruto. The arrest is said to contribute to increased tensions between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto.

Kenya exports crude oil for the first time

August 26th

Kenya exports for the first time 200,000 barrels of crude oil extracted in the country. President Uhuru Kenyatta describes this as an important event in the country’s history. The oil, which brings in $ 12 million, has been purchased by a Chinese company ChemChina and shipped to Malaysia.


Three are sentenced to long sentences for involvement in terrorist attacks

July 3

Three people are sentenced to long prison terms for involvement in the terrorist attack against Garissa University in northeast Kenya 2015. The longest sentence is given to a Tanzanian citizen who is sentenced to life imprisonment, while two Kenyans are sentenced to 41 years in prison each. In June, they were jailed for membership in the Somali militant Islamist group al-Shabaab. According to the court, there is evidence that the three men before the act had been in contact with the four al-Shabaab who carried out the assault that claimed 148 lives.


Three are convicted of assisting in terrorist attacks

June 19

Three people are convicted of assisting the assailants who killed 148 people at Garissa University in northeastern Kenya in 2015. A fourth defendant is acquitted. The act is believed to have been carried out by the Somali terror group al-Shabaab.


Homosexuality is still a crime in Kenya

24th of May

Kenya’s High Court decides not to decriminalize homosexuality. Groups working for gay rights had hoped that the court would approve a law change after addressing the issue of criminalization contrary to the country’s constitution. In its decision, the court cited concerns that decriminalization would threaten Kenya’s culture and family values.


Controversial film is rewarded in Burkina Faso

March 3rd

Samantha Mugatsia, starring in the Kenyan movie Rafiki, wins the award for Best Female Actress at the Fespaco Film Festival in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Rafiki is controversial because it is about lesbian love and it was forbidden to appear in Kenya in 2018 with reference to propaganda for lesbianism. After a judge temporarily suspended the ban for a week in September and it was shown to sold out houses in Nairobi. Homosexuality is prohibited in Kenya and can be punishable by imprisonment for up to 14 years.


In May, the court decides whether law prohibiting homosexuality should be abolished

February 22

The High Court postpones its decision on whether Kenya should abolish a colonial law banning homosexuality. This is done with reference to the large amount of documents in the case. Instead, decisions must be announced on May 24. As it is now, same-sex relationships can be punished with up to 14 years in prison. Between 2013 and 2017, 534 people were arrested for violating this law. LGBTQ activists in Kenya have long campaigned for the abolition of the law, which claims it is contrary to Kenya’s progressive constitution, which guarantees citizens equality, dignity and the right to privacy. At the same time, a number of churches oppose a law change, among other things, by claiming homosexuality in African.

Border disputes create tension between Somalia and Kenya

February 16th

A border dispute between Somalia and Kenya over a sea area equivalent to 100,000 square kilometers which is believed to be rich in oil and gas creates tensions between the countries. This has happened since Kenya accused Somalia of having auctioned oil and gas rights in the disputed area in early February. The Somali government claims the allegations are wrong, but Kenya calls its ambassador from Mogadishu for “consultations” and calls on Somalia’s ambassador to leave the country. In 2014, Somalia turned to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)) in The Hague in the Netherlands to settle the matter, after talks about the border collapsed. The dispute is causing a number of Khat traders in Somalia to stop buying the drug from Kenya. According to the BBC, Somalia imports around 50 tonnes of khat a day. After Ethiopian mediation, diplomatic relations resume in March of the same year.


Matiangi’s promotion strikes against Vice President Ruto

30th of January

President Kenyatta decides to grant new powers to Interior Minister Fred Matiangi, including as chair of the committee that oversees all development projects and where almost all ministries are represented. It is considered to run against Vice President William Ruto’s ambitions for the next presidential election and judges speculate on whether the ruling Jubilee Party (JP) will crack. Ruta should have been promised to become JP’s presidential candidate in 2022.

At least 21 dead in Nairobi attacks

January 15

At least 21 people are killed in a terror attack on a hotel complex in Nairobi, which houses both a luxury hotel, shower D2, and office space. About 50 people get stuck in the building overnight, and even the next morning, gunfire is heard in the area. But on Wednesday morning, according to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyan security forces have stormed the hotel and killed five assailants. Initially, 14 victims are killed, eleven Kenyans, one American and one British must have been killed. 19 people are still missing, according to information from the Kenyan Red Cross, and nearly 30 people have been injured. The militant Somali group al-Shabaab assumes responsibility for the act, which, according to Reuters news agency, claims to have taken revenge for US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Kenya Energy and Environment Facts

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